There is never a shortage of dieting tips that you can choose to follow to help with your weight loss attempts – low carb, high protein, low fat, low calorie plans that promise you the body of your dreams. Unfortunately, deep down we all know that despite the ever increasing number of diets and commercial weight loss programs available, sustainable weight loss eventually comes down to developing some strong food and lifestyle habits that you can maintain for life.
The good news is that these core habits are probably even easier to implement and maintain than you would ever imagine, and are far more likely to help you control your weight, for life than any commercial weight loss program has ever been proven to.
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Here are 5 Health Hacks For A Healthy Diet:
1. Focus on vegetables
If you do not eat 1-2 cups of vegetables or salad at lunch and another 2-3 cups with your dinner, you simply are not eating the volume of low calorie, nutrient dense plant based food in your diet to be at your best. Not only are vegetables important for the key nutrients that they offer, but their low calorie content means that you can literally eat vegetables and salad to your heart’s content without worrying about weight gain. Perhaps more importantly when it comes to weight control, vegetables and salad keep you full so you are far less likely to snack throughout the day. Increase you vege intake by simply adding mushrooms, tomato or spinach to your breakfast, enjoy vegetable juices, always eat a salad or soup with your lunch and aim for ½ of your dinner plate to be filled with salad or vegetables no matter where you are eating your dinner.
2. Remember the golden rule
If there was just one golden rule of nutrition, it would have to be to always eat a carbohydrate rich food with a protein rich food. Combining these two nutrients in your food choices ensures that your blood glucose and energy levels are kept well regulated throughout the day, and teaming carbs with protein also helps to regulate insulin levels which help to regulate appetite and keep you full. Low GI, slowly digested carbs including grain based breads and crackers, oat or bran based cereal or whole grains are the best choices as are lean proteins including reduced fat dairy, lean meat and fish and nuts and legumes. Examples of meals and snacks that fit this carb and protein combo include lower carb grain toast like Helga’s new Lower Carb Bread with eggs for breakfast, cheese and wholegrain crackers as a snack and a salad with tuna and beans for lunch – in all of these examples one protein rich food has always been teamed with a low GI carb.
3. Watch the coffee
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a cup or two of coffee each day, but if you regularly sit down to a numerous large milk based lattes or cappuccino with your friends, or drink coffee continually throughout the working day, you may be consuming far too many liquid calories. Unfortunately the body does not compensate well when we consume liquid calories, which means they simply becomes extras that we do not need. For this reason, always order a small based milk coffee and try and limit yourself to just one or two coffees each day. Piccolo serves are a good option as you get ½ of the milk with the same serve of coffee or better still swap to black tea or coffee to reduce your calorie intake from milk.
4. Always carry a protein rich snack with you
Often it is not that we do not know what we should be eating but we find ourselves in situations hungry but without any nutritious snack options available. Get into the habit of always carrying a protein rich snack with you, whether it is a protein or nut bar, some prepackaged cheese and crackers or some roasted chic nuts or broad beans and you will find that you are never forced to go and pick up a high carb, high calorie muffin or cake simply because you were hungry and that was all you could find.
5. Be strict with your eating times
The funny thing about food and weight control is that it is often about the time we are eating as opposed to what we are choosing. Often busy lifestyles means that breakfast is not eaten until after 9am, lunch is pushed back to 2 or 3pm and you are lucky if dinner is on the table by 9pm. As the human body is programmed according to a circadian or 24 hour rhythm and our hormones work to burn food during the day and store at night, this means the more calories we eat during the second half of the day, the more likely is it that they will be stored. For this reason, always aim to eat your breakfast by 8am, lunch by 1pm and where possible dinner by 8pm to give your body 10-12 hours without food overnight.
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